Benevolence, Courtesy, Grace, Indulgence, Favor, Mercy, Service
Compassion, Feeling, Good-heartedness, Humanity, Kindheartedness,
Large-heartedness, Pity, Soft-heartedness, Sympathy
Growing up, we did not have a dish washer. Well actually, we did, it was my sister and I, She washed and I dried. I am not sure how this arrangement came to be because I hated to dry and she hated to wash. There was also no way in God’s green earth we would give satisfaction to the other by offering them our job! ( If I had to suffer, so did she. Yes we were stubborn like that!) In our home my mom had two unbreakable rules for the kitchen. First, food was never to be left to dry on plates. Second, the kitchen was to be cleaned immediately following dinner. Put all these elements together and you had the perfect concoction of events and reasons to make drying dishes an agonizing chore for me. Summer was the worst, especially when nature and the neighborhood kids beckoned through our open screen doors.
I think 98% of all fights between my sister and myself took place in the kitchen. Half the time we argued over who wasn’t singing harmony correctly. You see, my sister insisted we put our time to good use and this meant singing Simon and Garfunkel songs in four part harmony, forget the fact there was only two of us. (We can still do a mean rendition of The Boxer and Bridge Over Muddy Waters!) The the other half the time we argued about all others important matters of life we could disagree about. We tried explaining this to my mom one day, in an attempt to get her to see the obvious correlation between dishes and disharmony, but she never bought it.
I loathed dishes, but nothing soured my mood more about having to do them than when mom caught me mid stride in the midst of a clandestine attempt to escape the kitchen. There was something about being “told” to do them that made the chore even more odious! The pile seemed bigger, the food was smellier, the stains were harder to remove, and my sister was more disagreeable!
Then one day, I discovered an amazing secret. If I went to the kitchen and started dishes without being told, the work didn’t seem so bad. If I wanted to live on the edge and tell my sister I would wash for her, I actually enjoyed doing the work, and felt energized by the time everything was washed and put away!
You might be wondering how kindness ties into this post, so here is my off the wall correlation between dishes and kindness. When I have been hurt, disappointed, or angered by someone, those wounds fester and get worse over time. Many times my natural thought is that the other person needs to make the first move to set things right. As time passes without a resolution or healing, the hurt grows deeper. Each passing second makes it harder to take the first step toward restitution. Like the dishes of my childhood, deciding to act first when I have been hurt, washes much of the angst and dread away.
When my husband has hurt my feelings, the hardest thing for me to do is say “I love you.” Those words mean so much more at that moment in time. “I love you” & “Please forgive me” become a balm to my festering heart as I choose to forgive, let go, and cherish instead of brooding, rewinding, and seething. The longer I wait, the thicker the silence and separation becomes between us. The gulf created in an hour is easier to cross than one forged for an entire day, week, or year! Sometimes being kind is a simple act, a touch, a word. Other times it is a prayer, not that the Lord would reign down fire and brimstone, but that He would bless and protect.
If you have been hurt or wounded, try kindness! Purpose to take the first step in restoring what the offence has tarnished.